Reading List

I personally really like "book lists" by people that I find interesting (e.g. the reading lists by Bill Gates). It's a useful way to discover relevant new books for yourself. I've made use of book lists such as the one by Bill Gates and been inspired by the idea of sharing them with a personal comment attached (like Oliver Eidel does here).

I'll do the same here by sharing non-fiction books I've read, including my personal note on each:
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
Awesome overview of the history of the whole world. Very philosophical angle.
Good Economics for Hard Times
Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo
Great intro into Economics in general. How can we improve the world based on empirical research and the tools of Economics?
Revolutions: A Very Short Introduction
Jack Goldstone
Great intro into how political systems have been revolutionized in the past (from the French Revolution to Arab spring).
Der Wal und das Ende der Welt
John Ironmonger
A novel about the end of the world (financial collapse, epidemic, supply chain breakdowns etc.). Good read! And many parts are pretty relevant today, unfortunately.
Thank You for Arguing
Jay Heinrichs
Great introduction into Rhetoric. I've never touched this topic before because I've always thought of it as insincere people manipulation. I still prefer discussions that are mainly driven by logical reasoning. But being able to identify the tactics that e.g. polititians use and being able to defend yourself against such tricks seems useful.
Software Engineering at Google: Lessons Learned from Programming Over Time
Titus Winters & Tom Manshrec & Hyrum Wright
Interesting insights into how Google organizes Software Engineering. Super long book, but subchapters can be read independently to get specific insights that you need.
High Growth Handbook
Elad Gil
Pretty interesting insights on how to scale a rapidly-growing company. Super hard thing to pull off. Many of the tips in the book are useful in other contexts as well.
The Mythical Man-Month
Frederick Brooks
A really great book about software project management. Impressive how such an old book can still deliver lots of valueable insights for today's software projects. The book coined the famous term "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later".

Another accurate observation of the author is "The second-system effect": the second system that a developer designs is the most dangerous since they are likely to over-engineer it. They'll try to fix all of the flaws of the first system. This sounds good at first but really often leads to overoptimization. Experienced software architects can help to keep things in control.
The Business Model Navigator: 55 Models That Will Revolutionise Your Business
Oliver Gassmann
Most of the business models follow common sense, and you don't need to read this book to build innovate business models. It might be a good brainstorming basis, though. I enjoyed the book since it was an easy read.
Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
Keith Ferrazzi
Really nice book! I am not exactly a huge fan of networking for the sake of it. It never really felt fun to me, and often a bit inauthentic. Nevertheless, it's important to know the value of good connections and how to build them. I could learn a lot from this book.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
Michael E. Gerber
Great book. If I had not read books like "Dein Wille Geschehe", this book would have been an extremely important one. Every entrepreneur should read this book or one of the few other books covering the topic of "levels of an entrepreneur" and "how to build a company that does not need you".
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
Bill Gates
Awesome book. Also one of my favourite ones. Bill Gates is just fucking smart - it's impossible to deny that.

Finally a book that does more than just reiterating conventional wisdom like "eat vegan", "don't take flights", "don't throw away stuff" etc. Don't get me wrong, those things are still very important but it's crucial to know other parts of the climate problem as well. The other parts are much less covered by the public at the moment. This book looks into industries such as construction or infrastructure

And it also makes the point that one should go beyond only changing one's own lifestyle habits, and go out and influence e.g. politics to make a bigger impact.
What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horrowitz is a smart guy! This book, similar to "The hard thing about hard things" is just awesome. A really smart analysis of how to actively shape company culture. Not an easy endeavour.
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl
Great book! The core message is: "a person can almost endure any pain if she has a purpose". And it somehow helps me to know that. The stories from the book are horrible, they stick in your brain - it's actually a book about the author surviving the holocaust. But the lessons are important and they had a profound impact on modern psychology.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
James Clear
Really interesting summary of human psychology related to habits. One of the most difficult parts of life: building good habits and breaking bad ones. The act of doing so does not feel "easy" after reading this but some of the tricks and the background knowledge help a little. But in the end, it seems to often boil down to discipline and willpower (in my experience).
It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Lot's of unpopular opinions about how to run a company. Smart opinions that mostly make a lot of sense. It's not easy to come up with smart unpopular opinions - so I really value their work. Also a short read! Thank you for that!
Brief Answers to the Big Questions: the final book from Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Awesome. The knowledge in there is really not that useful but the logic behind his reasoning is magnificent. It's such a rational analysis of rather emotional topics. Smart stuff.
Young Money Guide
Henning Jauernig
Nice introduction into investment for young people. It gave me a better overview about everything you can do and the ups and downs of each option.
Managing Oneself
Peter Drucker
Extremely short read. I like it. No game changer but worth the little time you need to put in it.
Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope
Mark Manson
I am really tired of Personal Development books since they are often impractical guides that kind of "over-engineer" life. Kind of a freakish culture where everybody tries to feel superior by knowing the best "like-hacks".

But this book is different! Mark Manson is a smart dude and he doesn't deliver the conventional wisdom that everybody else regurgitates in their books. It's a really practical analysis without trying to be overly romantic about "do this, and you'll be happy forever" stuff.
Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art and Science of Getting Past No
Jeb Blount
Great sales book! I am naturally a guy who does not really enjoy the manipulative part of sales. But I really enjoy the "be a strong person who has control of his emotions, even in stressful sales situations"-part.
Wait But Why: The Story of Us
Tim Urban
It's a series of blog posts but so long that it's basically a book (and not a short one).

Really, really awesome blog series. A summary of how humans work inside groups of different sizes. That includes explanations of how politics work etc.

The topic could be a boring one, were it written by a different person. But it's written by Tim Urban and, therefore, as usual, a really awesome well-thought-through summary of how the world seems to work.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
Kim Scott
One of my favourite books ever. Awesome framework for being an empathic boss which still manages to push people to do their greatest work.
Remote: Office Not Required
Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Lot's of obvious stuff in there but also some interesting points. It's easy to read and not too long. If you are building a remote company, read that book. Otherwise, it's not a must.
The Robot-Proof Recruiter: A Survival Guide for Recruitment and Sourcing Professionals (read 50%)
Katrina Collier
Having read a lot about recruiting before, this book was not all too exciting for me.
Steve Jobs: A Biography (read 50%)
Walter Isaacson
Exciting person and exciting book. But sooo long. At some point I just wished, the author would have made a shorter summary. Too many details.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Chris Voss & Tahl Raz
Awesome book with really exciting stories to get across the main message of the book: don't default to making compromises in negotiations. Ask for what you want and try to get it.
Tons of norms and laws about medical software (IEC 62304, ISO 13485, ISO 14971, IEC 82304, IEC 62366, DiGAV, MDR, DiGA-Leitfaden, etc.)
Well, if you must read those, read them. If you don't have to, by all means, don't read those. It's not fun. But it's also not as bad as it sounds. Most norms and laws are actually written in understandable German sentences. Before reading those norms and laws, I always thought this is some kind of insanely complicated language that only a lawyer would understand. Not at all! Everybody can understand those if you are willing to put in the effort.
DiGA VADEMECUM: Was man zu Digitalen Gesundheitsanwendungen wissen muss
Jan B. Brönneke , Jörg F. Debatin, Julia Hagen, Philipp Kircher, Henrik Matthies
I didn't expect it but this is a really great summary of what to take care of if you build a DiGA (prescribable medical app for the German market). Recommended read for everyone new to this field.
Selling to Big Companies
Jill Konrath
I liked the book because the topic of "how to sell something to a big company" seemed fairly interesting to me. The book rightfully makes it clear that ... it's just fucking hard to sell anything to big companies.
Dein Wille geschehe - Führung für Unternehmer. Der Weg zu Selbstbestimmung und Freiheit
Stefan Merath
A really good book that gives you a framework for leading a company. It's basically a summary of the philosophy you can read in many American books but written for Germans. A good summary though.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World
Gary Vaynerchuk
I liked that one. Basically a book about social media marketing. It's was a good introduction for me.
Together Is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration
Simon Sinek
Cute little book about leadership. Nothing that would actually help in practice. You can read it for entertainment since it's short and easy to digest.
Basiswissen: Medizinische Software
Christian Johner, Matthias Hölzer-Klüpfel, Sven Wittorf
There almost no open knowledge out there about how to apply medical device regulatory in practice. This book does not really change that. There is tons of generic knowledge in there that still makes it impossible to e.g. build up a QMS on your own. I really like it as a summary of many different topics. However, if you are looking for guide on how to build a medical device, this won't get you what you need.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Blake Masters & Peter Thiel
Awesome book with some pretty radical thoughts about how to build high-risk but potentially extremely successful companies. I do not exactly apply that knowledge (QuickBird is an agency - relatively low risk but also low chance of becoming the next Facebook) but anyways highly interesting content.
Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
Laszlo Bock
Great book with so many cool insights and stories from Google.

I love their "nudging" approach for e.g. helping people to eat & drink healthy. They offer candy at Google but they hide it behind milky glass while the healthy stuff is shown behind clear glass.
The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life
Tim Ferriss
I somehow hoped that Tim Ferris could be the one inspiring me to enjoy cooking. But nope. I still hate cooking and the book didn't solve it for me. Was fun to read but the promise of "it's so easy" and "it will be fun" didn't deliver for me. But I'll have to admit, I am probably just a hopeless case when it comes to cooking.
Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling
Jeb Blount
I haven't read anything about cold calling before. So this book was really an awesome introduction. Especially the philosophy of "When it's time to go home - make one more call!" is kind of cool :-D Cold calling is a brutal game - I kind of like that.
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
Paulo Coelho
Very nice book. A novel, not a non-fiction book. I liked the story, and it's very philosophical.
Tools of Titans
Tim Ferris
Very, very long book (736 pages) but an easy read since it mostly consists of personal stories. I really liked it since it offers a lot of little ideas to improve yourself, and it motivates you to be more ambitious in areas you might have overlooked so far.
The Effective Executive
Peter Drucker
Really liked that one! Recommend it to any manager or CEO. Concise and to the point.
Homo Deus: Eine Geschichte von Morgen (read 50%)
Yuval Noah Harari
Good book but I just lost interest at some point. Some stuff feels not too surprising if you are e.g. a little familiar with stuff like AI and AI ethics.
Who: The A Method for Hiring
Geoff Smart & Randy Street
Since I never read a book about interviewing and recruiting before this one: a good read! It certainly shaped our recruiting process at QuickBird.
The Fourth Wave: Digital Health
Paul Sonnier
OKish. Nothing too surprising in the book.
Start With Why: The Inspiring Million-Copy Bestseller That Will Help You Find Your Purpose
Simon Sinek
Inspirational book, I liked it.

One critical comment of mine: I think Simon tends to over-apply his philosophies without showing exceptions. Many people have a really simple "Why" such as "I just like to build stuff". And I don't think that you should then always "start with why" on e.g. your website for marketing. You can also simply write what you do "I sell apples" and if they are tasty and not too expensive, you are successful. That's an oversimplification but my main thought here: I hate companies who try to fake "deepness" by artificially creating a purpose that I just don't buy into.

"We are promoting the greatest products on the planet to make the world a better place". Dude, you are a digital marketing agency. Why don't you just fucking say that?
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't
Simon Sinek
Not really that helpful for me. Main message: The person who helps the group the most is seen as the natural leader of the group.

Lots of common sense in there, didn't really shake my world view.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
Hans Rosling
Wow! What a book! One of my favourite books of all time. If you are interested in how to make the world a better place, READ THIS BOOK. Doing good based on science rather than romantic common beliefs ("Let's build a school in Africa").
The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands
Eric Topol
Mhh, I don't know, there is too much obvious stuff in there. I was a bit bored while reading the book. If you don't know much about medicine or digital trends, might be worth a look. Otherwise, no need to read this one.
Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Robert Cecil Martin
Very good summary of best practices and anti patterns for software development. Recommend!
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
J. J. Sutherland
Great description of Scrum and all its parts by the founder of Scrum himself. I especially love the explanations of why certain things make sense. You can read how Scrum works easily on the internet but few people tell you exactly why every single aspect is the way it is. If you wanna use Scrum and adapt it to fit your team, you should know the WHY, too.
Test Driven Development: By Example
Kent Beck
Good intro to test driven development. Something you can also learn by reading good blog articles but I love books and it's not that easy to find good blog articles on the topic.
Introduction to Rx: A step by step guide to the Reactive Extensions to .NET
Lee Campbell
The only reason I read a book about this was that I wanted to learn Rx during my flight to Argentina. If you have an internet connection though: don't go for a book and simply use the internet.
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph E. Johnson, John Vlissides
I liked reading the book even though it did not directly change much about how I develop software. Still, it's great to have some more design patterns in mind for future projects and naming these patterns helps with communication as well.
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
Gene Stone & Michael Greger
A very, very long book. I forced myself to finish it. It was worth reading for me since it taught me a lot about a healthy diet and, especially, a healthy vegan diet.

The problem with food & diet research is that you could read three different books that all contradict each other but are all "based on great studies". There is a study for everything you want to believe in this field. I go along with the author's opinions mostly but one should be careful. Bias is certainly also prevalent in this book.
The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Andy Hunt & Dave Thomas
I still don't get why so few developers seem to read books to improve themselves. This one is a good example of why reading books is an important source for meta knowledge. The books teaches you on a meta level what is important to become better at software development. Highly recommend this book!
Kotlin in Action
Dmitry Jemerov & Svetlana Isakova
Great book about the programming language Kotlin and all of its amazing features. There is no need to read a book about a programming language necessarily but it might be a good format for some people. It's a very nice summary of everything Kotlin is capable of.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Mark Manson
I remember the book to be entertaining and I like its main message "the more mature you get, the fewer fucks you give about everything (which is good)". Depending one one's life situation, might be worth a look. Not a must-read.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
Ann Handley
A really great intro into good content creation strategies. The "ugly draft" method is still something I use myself a lot and recommend to anyone in my team fighting with their own perfectionism/writer's block.
Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It
Gabriel Wyner
If you are about to learn a new language, read this book first. It will definitely save you time, potentially a lot of time. The tricks and strategies in the book are really helpful to learn any new language. Even though a lot of deliberate effort is still required, this book still helped me a lot to make my Mandarin/Chinese learning more efficient and fun.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
David Allen
One of the most life-changing books I've read. While reading this book I built up a rather complex TODO system for myself that I use until today. I don't know how I would otherwise survive in complex environments like the one when you found a company.

The examples in the book are a bit old-fashioned and should be brought into the digital world. But apart from that: recommend this book!

I've even written an article about stuff I've learned from this book:
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Robert Cialdini
Really interesting read on persuasion and sales tactics! I don't really feel like learning manipulative sales tactics myself but the book prepares you for people who use those tactics against you.
Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series)
Ash Maurya
Nice extension to the "Lean Startup" book with some practical examples.
Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Great book about marketing channels. I've used their framework of 19 distribution channels a lot for making strategic marketing decisions.

Read this book and "Positioning" (see below) and you understood some really important parts of effective marketing.
Head First Design Patterns
Eric Freeman & Elisabeth Robson
Reading a book about Design Patterns is a must for any ambitious software developer. This book is an excellent, entertaining introduction.
ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever
David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried
I admire David Hansson and Jaso Fried for having an ability to constantly come up with unpopular opinions that mostly really make sense. They think shit through on their own without relying on other people's beliefs. That leads to some smart conclusions and new approaches to make business.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
Al Ries and Jack Trout
Great book about the fundamental principles of Marketing. Understanding positioning is key to developing effective marketing strategies.
The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 keys to a great brand story and why your business needs one
Bernadette Jiwa
A book about branding. Cannot really remember much of the book to be honest.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Ashlee Vance
Great book, and a really entertaining read. Finished it without any feeling of effort. Great inspiration to take bold risks in your life.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Ben Horowitz
Simply a really, really awesome book about company culture and e.g. the difference between war time and peace time in companies. Also very reflected content - no silver bullet promised, no radical black & white thinking. Great.
Speed Reading: Learn to Read a 200+ Page Book in 1 Hour
Kam Knight
Cannot really recommend it. I don't consider the skill of speed reading a very important skill. Especially, non-fiction book need lots of thinking and lots of action if you really wanna get sth out of them. Speed-reading seems like laziness to avoid actually processing the book's content.

The techniques could be helpful to skim long texts for relevant information though. But it's not the silver bullet to becoming the smartest person ever.
The Elements of Style
William Strunk Jr.
I don't really fully understand why this book is so famous. It's basically a guide to English grammar. That is great but I hoped for a little more after every person on the internet recommended it to me.

I like the core statement that you should be brief in your writing. Every single word should have value or otherwise be eliminated.

However, it's easy to become overly perfectionistic if you read that book. If you e.g. write an article about complicated technical stuff, instead of overoptimising the language, I'd rather focus on the logical structure of the explanations.
How to Win Friends & Influence People
Dale Carnegie
Really loved that book! Some great guidelines that help you understand that social side of the human mind a bit better.

Sometimes, I feel like the recommendations are a bit too focused on "pleasing other people" though. Dale somehow recommends to not contradict other people's opinions. That might be true in formal settings where you simply want to make a good first impression. However, in other circumstances: contradicting other people's opinions is important to make the world progress. Bad ideas need to die, great ideas need to spread. Also, oftentimes you learn a lot yourself by disapproving with somebody's point of view. You allow another person to explain their point with more details that way and might uncover that either you or the other person was wrong.

And, of course, all of the rules have tons of exceptions. If you dumbly apply everything in the book, you probably just act like a creep. Everything depends on context.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Eckhart Tolle
Great book that changed my life (I know, it sounds cheesy). It was my first touch point with the philosophy behind meditation. Knowing and applying that "Be in the moment"-philosophy was really helpful for my wellbeing.

As many great authors whose life focuses on one topic mostly, the book does sometimes feel a bit radical. He tries to explain every single part of the world with one single philosophy which is not feasible imo.

I e.g. don't think everything bad in the world is ONLY because people are "not in the moment". Nor I consider it to be practical to "always be in the moment". Knowing the mantra is great but planning for the future and reviewing the past is important. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion. Most people (including me) are just a bit out of balance and focus too much on future and past.
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Eric Ries
A classic among people in the area of entrepreneurship. And rightfully so! The insights are absolutely game changing if you haven't read a similar book about entrepreneurship before.

Don't build something you haven't tested in an experiment. Avoid Waste. Verify your assumptions with tests. Fail fast. Lots of interesting opinions on how to increase your chances of building a successful startup.

Some of the principles don't exactly seem to work for B2B-startups where there is usually only a tiny amount of data at the beginning. For B2B, you often have 10 conversions worth 100k dollars each and have a profitable business. That's not enough data points though to test hypotheses for conversions. Much better data if you sell 10k shoes for 100 dollars each (B2C).
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Charles Duhigg
A really interesting read that I highly recommend. The psychological findings and background explanations are fascinating. To be honest, I don't know if the book really changed anything about my habits. At least, the suggested habit changing framework didn't seem to click for me. Still, the information probably had some indirect impact on me.
E.g. to know that bad habits can hardly be eliminated - they need to be replaced. This is something that feels very accurate and matches my experience so far.
The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School, and at Play
Harry Lorayne & Jerry Lucas
Really fun book! It didn't change my life but it still e.g. helps me to remember number-based pins/passwords until this day.
Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams
Jeff Walker
I don't really remember this book. I just remember how cocky the author was. Cannot really recommend this.